I was having a chat with two colleagues the other day doing my best to brainwash them about the benefits of increasing cycling's modal share and making it safe enough for children to get around. One of them suggested that Adelaide had been built so obviously for the car that it was simply too late to make a change. A bit like when Darth Vader told Luke "it's too late for me, my son" in the Return of the Jedi.
Well we all know that Darth, or should I say Anakin, was wrong. There was still good in him and, in the same way, there is still plenty of cycling potential in Adelaide.
For one thing, we have these wide streets all over the place. Setting aside a lane on wide streets like Frome Road, North Terrace and the Parade in Norwood would be easy. On parts of North Terrace, it is 8 lanes wide if you include parking lanes. Other streets might require a tiny bit of imagination. Often it's as easy as taking away some of that free on-road car parking.
The mayor of Portand clearly agrees with me. His office has produced a video explaining the city's new "cycle tracks". On those roads where there is a bike path here, you have to ride in the door zone of parked cars. Instead of that the cycle track is put on the other side of parked cars with a buffer allowing space for opening doors. In other words, what you see in Copenhagen all of the time.
The beauty of this video is that it shows just how cheap and easy that first step would be.
The second step would have to follow very quickly after the first and would be to install proper junction treatments including, if necessary, separate traffic lights for bikes that help avoid conflicts.
The third step is then to raise the cycle tracks above the level of the road so that you limit the danger of having them driven or parked in.
Here's the video:
On the Right Track from Mayor Sam Adams on Vimeo.
The only odd thing is right at the end at 3 mins 23 secs. A young woman runs past the presenter in sports clothes that look suspiciously like she is wearing a huge pair of red underpants above her shorts.
I might need glasses.